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Songs of the West

Four Cords 


This is one of the vital impressionistic Western songs halfway between a lyric and a ballad. For its various printings see Laws (NAB), 263. Learned at an early age, perhaps from the radio.

I'll sing you a true song of Billy the Kid 
Sing of the desperate deeds that he did 
Way out in New Mexico long long ago
Where man's only friend was his old 44.

When Billy the Kid was a very young lad 
In old Silver City he went to the bad
Way out in the west with a gun in his hand
At the age of 12 years he killed his first man.

Young Mexican maidens play guitars and sing 
Songs about Billy, their boy bandit king
How e're his young manhood who had reached its sad end 
Had a notch on his pistol for 21 men.

It was on the same night when poor Billy died 
He said to his friends I'm not satisfied 
There are 21 men I have put bullets through 
Sheriff Pat Garritt must make 22.

Now this is how Billy the Kid met his fate
The bright moon was shining the hour was late 
Shot down by Pat Garritt who once was his friend
The young outlaw's life now reached its sad end.

Now there's many a lad with a face fine and fair 
Who starts out in life with a chance to be square 
But just like poor Billy they wander astray
They lose their life in the very same way.